Four Parks in One Day: Why You Should or Shouldn’t Do It

If you have limited time to enjoy Walt Disney World, it can be tempting to cram in as much magic as you can muster. Park-hopping is a great way to see the parks and get some totally different experiences all in a matter of hours.

Magic Kingdom guide map

So would we recommend you shoot for all four parks in one day? Or tell you to forget it? Find out which category you fall under as we take a look at the “Four Parks in One Day” concept.

Why you shouldn’t do it!

You’re never going to be able to see everything Walt Disney World has to offer in a week, much less in one day! There are countless unique experiences — attractions, character interactions, dining and entertainment. Trying to see and do it all is exhausting and not what a vacation should be about. If you don’t believe us about how much there is, see for yourself. Find full attractions lists for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom by clicking on the links. Then take a look at the park maps to see how spread out everything is. Walt Disney World is not your local amusement park than you can cover in a few hours.

Transportation takes a chunk out of the day: it takes a while to get from Point A to Point B when you’re talking about a property that spans 40-some square miles. Frequent Disney World guests will tell you that while Disney transportation is good, having to rely on it is often not the most magical part of the day. But driving your own vehicle can be just as time-consuming, as you’ll probably have to take a tram to the car, then wait at the parking plaza, find a place to park, and then get to the next park entrance every time you hop parks.

If the idea of hustling your entourage from park to park and having to clear security multiple times each day does not appeal to you or your traveling party, then doing four parks in a day isn’t for you.

Talk about being tired: It’s not impossible to set foot in all four Disney World parks in just one day, but you’ll need to be up early and head to bed late if you plan on doing more at each stop than just walking through the gates. Even if you’re only planning to see one park in a day, that can mean longer-than-normal hours.  If you have little ones who can’t stay up late, or teenagers who refuse to get up early, the Four Parks in One Day plan is probably not going to work for you. After all, you don’t want to have to deal with both Sleepy AND Grumpy on your vacation!

Why you should do it!

If you’ve been to Disney World a number of times and realize that you’ll be back again in the future, you can probably comfortably plan a Four Parks in One Day adventure. Because you have already experienced many of the attractions and entertainment options, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything if you know you’re only going to see one or two things in each park. Also, if you’re traveling with a group of like-minded individuals who also want to attempt the monumental Four Parks in One Day challenge, then you should definitely do it!

If you decide that this challenge is for you, keep a few things in mind to help guarantee a successful day:

Find out how to make the most of your mornings at Magic Kingdom with our page on Early Morning Magic.  You’ll also want to explore the option of Extra Magic Hours if you’re staying at a Disney resort. And now there are even extended After Hours programs at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — be sure to read up on those.

Figuring out your FastPass+: It’s important to keep in mind the best practices to streamline your day. This will cut down on your time in lines, so you can experience more. The problem with visiting all four parks is that you cannot plan out FastPasses that way. You’re only able to select passes for one park initially with your allotted three passes. Only once all three of these have been used or are expired are you able to select passes in a different park. By the time you get to your third and fourth park of the day, most of these impromptu passes will be taken up, and you will be left waiting in lines. Find out everything you need to know about how to set your own FastPass+ reservations on our Disney FastPass+ page.

Read our article on Using Walt Disney World Transportation or Renting a Car to decide what method will be best for helping you reach your goal.

Read about others who have done multiple parks in one day to learn of the perils and pitfalls:

Four Parks in a Day Strategy

The Miller Family Four-Park Birthday Challenge

The Ultimate Disney Day: Six Parks, Two Coasts

Remember, if you’re tackling Four Parks in One Day, to have fun and make sure you share everything about your adventurous experience with us once you get back home!

When you’re in Disney, don’t forget to tag us @allearsnet in your photos!

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Debra Martin Koma wrote about food, travel and lifestyle issues for a number of local and national publications before she fell in love with Walt Disney World on her first visit — when she was 34! She's returned to her Laughing Place more times than she can count in the ensuing years, and enthusiastically shares her passion with readers of AllEars.Net and AllEars®. Deb also co-authored (along with Deb Wills) PassPorter's Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, a travel guide designed for all travelers to Walt Disney World who may require special attention, from special diets to mobility issues.

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5 Replies to “Four Parks in One Day: Why You Should or Shouldn’t Do It”

  1. I get both sides of the story…my two daughters and I have done the “4 Parks in One Day” 2 or three times – is more of a nostalgic “look back” at our favorite moments – and lets us know we still have the energy of a kid! But I also see where people get “Disney burn out” – even with all the new things being introduced at a way-too-rapid rate! The Disney experience has gone from a family-oriented “fantasy get away” from the hustle and bustle of the world to a fast-paced “Survivor” competition – who can book a FastPass or DR the fastest! While racing around has a fun side to it, what you really want in a Disney vacation is a chance to imagine yourself somewhere completely different – but not in 90 seconds!!

  2. We did it earlier this month. Didn’t even plan to. Went to MK at 9 am, did our FP, got several more. When there were no more we wanted at MK, found one for Kilimanjaro Safari so ran over to AK (had our own car). Rode that, decided it was getting too busy, found FP for Soarin’ so went over to Epcot. And then, holy cow – there was one for TSM so ran over to HS which closed at 8. Did a few other rides too at the various parks, along with some food. It was fun! Planning to do it more thoroughly next year. 31K+ steps that day …

  3. My 9yo DD and I justvdid the 4 parks in one day Sat and had a blast! It was day 7 for us in the parks so we had already spent a day in AK and DHS plus 2 day’s each in MK and Epcot. It was a great way to visit each park to ride our favourite rides although I will say MK was CRAZY busy so we chose what to do by wait time as even FP queues were looong!

    I agree if you only have 1 day this is not the way to go but is a fun little challenge during a longerbstay. I’m sure we’ll do it again!

  4. Under reasons Why You Should Do It, the author writes, “If you’ve been to Disney World a number of times and realize that you’ll be back again in the future………… Because you have already experienced many of the attractions and entertainment options.” Translation, you’ve been to WDW so many times the regular routine just doesn’t do it for you anymore. Might be time to take a break and enjoy some new experiences somewhere else.

    We overdid it, big time, from 1986- 95. We were addicted to the place. After a dozen trips of a week each though, we just weren’t getting the same enjoyment. We would get all excited about going, then after we got there it was like, “eh, been there, done that.” We would end up leaving a day or two early. We finally had to admit that as much as we loved WDW, we were burnt out. Our kids figured it out before their dumb parents did. We took a 6 year vacation from our vacation place. We’ve been back several times since, but honestly, I don’t think we will ever get that same excitement back.

    1. I have to agree. Growing up and living in Florida in the 70s/80s/90s, Disney was always just a few hours drive away. We use to go there all the time. After many years going there year after year, sometimes multiple times a year, you just don’t get the same enjoyment. Making things worse is closing down of rides that you loved, noticing certain parts of the park and/or rides deteriorating or not being up kept as much, and feeling like you are being price gouged, with the gouging getting worse over time (not that Disney has ever been cheap). In the last two decades we instead have traveled the world, which many times have been cheaper than a Disney vacation. This has made any return trips to Disney every few years even worse as you see how “fake” it is when compared to the real world. Not saying Disney is bad. We still enjoyed our occasional return visits, but it’s not the same as when I was growing up. I do have to say we enjoyed it a bit more in the last few years when we had children and saw it through new eyes via their eyes, but the prices have gotten so high that we can’t justify more visits. I’d rather spend the money having my kids see the real world.